Circles, Conversation And Community with Vicki Robin, Juanita Brown & Leif Utne

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Are you politically progressive or conservative? Do you lean toward the left or the right? Is the American flag a symbol of freedom for all people of all nations or does it herald our right to fight for democracy in all corners of the world? Is it possible that all these different views are based on similar core values? Vicki Robin, Juanita Brown and Leif Utne believe that if Americans take time to talk with one another, in a space that allows each of us to speak freely and be heard, we'll find that our views have much more in common than we realize. They've launched a movement called "Let's Talk America" to stimulate a national conversation about democracy. As Leif Utne explains, the idea is "an invitation to everybody to let their guard down and create a meeting ground where you don't have to agree with people. You just have to allow space to be heard and to listen to people like you and people not like you." The result is a meeting of minds and a discovery of new ways of thinking that can "reenergize people's passion for the dream that shaped this country." At a time when our democracy seems threatened by the very desire to protect it, Robin, Brown and Utne inspire us to join together to move beyond the middle ground and find a higher ground. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Juanita Brown, Ph.D., as founder of Whole Systems Associates, collaborates with international clients in the development of large-scale change initiatives.

She is the author of:

  • The World Cafe: Living Knowledge Through Conversations That Matter (Fielding Institute 2001)

Vicki Robin served on the President's Task Force on Population and Consumption and is the chair of the Simplicity Forum.

She is coauthor with Joe Dominguez of the bestseller:

  • Your Money Or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money & Achieving Financial Independence (Viking Penguin 1992) 

Leif Utne is a contributing editor of Utne magazine and a cofounder of the Utne Institute.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How to recognize when your wisdom voice is speaking
  • How the conversations we have with our neighbors can affect the future of our country
  • Why conversation is an important part of being a citizen in a democracy
  • How you can create a space where people of different viewpoints can discover their common ground
  • What are the six agreements that set the stage for a conversation in which every voice is heard
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 1/29/2004      Program Number: 3032